Purpose as a Living Charm

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Picasso.

clowns and children patients Clown Heart and elderly woman

Pretty clowns in Taiwan
A young Taiwanese girl traveled to Italy where she attended by chance a Clown Heart training workshop and joined their tours of hospitals, psychiatric institutions and orphanages. She brought it back to Taiwan and founded  Clown Heart Studio with three others in their twenties to bring happiness for good causes such as visiting patients.Social work can be fun!

Kohama-Island

Closest to heaven pop queens from paradise

Japan’s grandma pop band is made up of  singers and dancers with an average age of 84 from the remote, coral-fringed island in Okinawa  with a population of just 600 and lies a mere 240 km off Taiwan. Okinawan islanders have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, their diet contains more vegetables and purple-fleshed local sweet potato. Their lyrics are about the island and nature such as whales in the sea spouting or dolphins doing somersaults.

In the news clips, I was drawn by the girlish giggles sounding like silver bells from the shortest granny (wearing gray striped kimono in the middle) who had lost her husband and son.

Despite their girl power, backstage walking frames block entrances, blood pressure monitors and defibrillators are close at hand. Hunched over a walking stick, one granny tosses her cane aside like a true rock star when she’s on stage, dancing with joy on traditional Okinawan string music given a Tokyo-style pop makeover.

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 Record breaking Japanese Centenarian swimmer

She started to learn swimming at the age of eighty because of knee problem and has been swimming two hours at a time and four times a week. After the swim she would sleep for five hours.She breaks the record with a 1500 meter swim in one hour and sixteen minutes.

“Now I’ve got my life, this is of great use to me” Chuang Tzu. Eco-parable of Useless Tree

I strove very hard most of my life fulfilling obligations to expectations of parents or society,caring for families or doing good for different aspired causes with less than desirable outcome. Now that I have got my life to solely pursue my passion of reading and writing for personal development, it has been of great use to me in terms of learning, fulfillment and purpose despite of unbearable personal loss or missing the marks of success or the good life by conventional standards.

Though I have not achieved much success or of much use to others in giving away the bilingual reading and writing gifts that I thought I found, I still feel my life has meaning and purpose in sharing the teachings of Chuang Tzu on conflicts and loss regardless if it has helped anyone else.

 

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Charm in Loss

Every time I read the cab ride post on zen moments website, tears would fill my eyes. Recently I viewed the video and then the Four Chambers film on compassion (the cab ride), courage, vision and wonder.However the four stories of loss better illustrate Chuang Tzu’s teachings on dying and death, disability and useless.

The cab ride was about a cab driver taking an elderly lady from her home to the nursing home for hospice. The ride was her last chance to see the outside world.

“Nature gives us form, belabors us with living, eases us with old age and lets us rest with death. Therefore if life is good, death is good as well. ” Chuang Tzu.

We all go through the seasons of life whether our life is long or short, dying young in sickness is not much different from aging. We may go on the ride ourselves, as companions to family and friends or strangers like the cab driver. If we can feel and understand the journey, we can ride with charm and compassion to ourselves or others.

Austin without limbs

The second story was about a little boy who lost his limbs at three. I had read “Life without Limits” by Nick Vujicic  and another book by a Korean with no limbs many years ago. But how little Austin showed his schoolmates that he could do what they thought he could not was a real inspiration. The way Austin’s mother described how she felt about the entire experience of loss opened my eyes, mind and heart. It’s more than courage, it is being enlightened by loss and discrimination.Instead of mourning over what cannot be done, think what can be done at the moment.

“Think one and not what’s lost.” Chuang Tzu.

The third story about how abandoned race horses were used to help withdrawn children who may be considered useless by many is not just vision to me, it is appreciating everyone and everything around us; then we can see the potential to do good to someone or something and put it to good use.

“Use of No Use is Great Use.” Chuang Tzu.

The final chamber is not wonder to me but untapped potential we tend to overlook in children and unexamined helplessness on challenging health conditions.

Epilepsy for Kids

The English girl published her book on epilepsy at the age of seven because her mother suffered from epilepsy and thought maybe other children can learn from her experience. Adults think children would be useless in understanding and helping in complicated health handicaps, but children surprise us if we let them.

And finally Ben Carson shared how he spent time on useless knowledge like classical music that ended up getting him in medical school. Nothing is “Useless Knowledge”.

Love and Loss, Signature of Life

The charm of the lady flooded the lines in a touching article “Four Weddings and One Funeral”written by violinist Jimmy Lin Cho-Liang in a Taiwanese magazine “Wealth”.

Cho Liang Lin

She married in her forties and had three weddings in three cities all in two weeks  just for significant family members who could not travel. (Sydney where she lived for years, Munich where her mother-in-law was and then Taiwan where her dear uncles were.) It must have been exhausting. She became a mother five months later and her relatives heard about her lymphoma before their baby gifts even arrived in her hands. Her chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant all failed. His brother held a simple wedding in the hospital so her sister could attend. A few days later, she passed away. The baby was not even one-year-old. Her funeral was like a carnival, nobody wore black according to her request. She was a bright meteorite that swept through the sky. The most important events in life she went through fast forward in a year or so.

“Everything has a reason for being so. Everything has a reason for existence to be possible. ” Chuang Tzu

In contrast below a very slow film “Amour” that won numerous awards but the Guardian called it an ad for euthanasia. The film stripped aside all the glamour of long careers of the octogenarian actor and actress. Beauty faded , they glow from within, accepting stark reality of age, failure and ego disintegration.

“Nature gives us form, belabors us with living, eases us with old age and lets us rest with death. Therefore if life is good, death is good as well.  ” Chuang Tzu

Finally for any love and loss. Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto Second Movement played by  Lang Lang
The melancholy music filled with feelings of ineffable blessings, a beautiful signature of life. For any musician, loss of hearing would render him or her useless , a disability discriminated and doomed in any music career. Blessed with the profound sound of silence, Beethoven’s true nature emerged.

“Use of No Use is Great Use” Chuang Tzu.